Ritual and Restraint in Contemporary Western Military Operations

The New Aztecs: Ritual and Restraint in Contemporary Western Military Operations by Dr. Zhivan Alach, US Army War College Strategic Studies Institute. Brief synopsis follows:

The Western way of war has come full circle. After centuries of evolution toward increased totality and brutality, it has turned back once again to the ritualistic and restrained methods of primitive warfare. Largely, this has been due to an interaction between the perceived lack of utility in contemporary warfare, developing humanitarian public opinion, and increasing professionalism among militaries. The significance of these evolutionary trends in the way that the West engages in modern warfare is that they are potentially dangerous, and they include the possibility that the West will be unprepared for a future foe whose defeat requires more unrestrained methods.

The New Aztecs: Ritual and Restraint in Contemporary Western Military Operations.

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Mark:

got it and thanks, and again agree.

Gosh lots of examples come to mind: French at the start of World War II; Prussians at Jena-Auerstadt; the British during the first 6 months of the second Boer War, and one could go on and on.

gian

Hi Gian

"I thought this essay contained some provocative and interesting ideas, although the history in it is modeled and relies on the now dysfunctional concept of "total war." Still his point about tradition, restraint, and military culture and where perhaps these things are leading western militaries is an interesting one."

I am in full agreement with you Gian, I was just having some fun above.

Some of the most interesting battles or campaigns in history are when a formerly highly effective military culture is suddenly rendered obsolete. No good to be the best at counting coup when the new guy arrives with his repeating rifle

Mark:

I thought this essay contained some provocative and interesting ideas, although the history in it is modeled and relies on the now dysfunctional concept of "total war." Still his point about tradition, restraint, and military culture and where perhaps these things are leading western militaries is an interesting one.

One often hears the current batch of Coin experts lecturing us that no enemy out there will challenge our conventional capabilities and will instead focus on irregular methods so we must therefore act in kind and prepare for irregular warfare. But what if a potential enemy sees that we have lost our ability to do conventional war, and then attacks us in that weak spot?

So i am curious as to the point you were making with your futuristic post.

thanks

gian

"....responding to Congressional complaints about the ongoing war in Afghanistan, now closing in on it's twentieth anniversary, the Biden adminstration has dispatched the fabled "Second Guesser's Battalion" to Kabul. This unique SOF unit composed of lawyers, philosophy professors, Harvard ethicists and former NGO activists will assist ISAF in it's war strategy by micromanaging a single rifle platoon.

Other duties will include helping soldiers in the field (by radio) navigate the complex bureaucratic procedures to gain permission to load their weapons and striking a suitably grave facial expression during television interviews"